Lack of industry means lack of jobs for Oswego County

"Oswego County experienced its second highest unemployment rate since 1992 in September 2010, with 8.8 percent of county residents unemployed.

"Roger Evans, principal economist for the New York State Department of Labor in Syracuse, said there is one major factor affecting unemployment in the area. He said when the national economy experiences hardships, rural populations, like in Oswego County, get hit even harder.

"Larry Spizman, an economics professor at Oswego State, agreed that all economies are intertwined and affected by each other.

"Oswego County is home to more than 100,000 people, but is considered a low-density area. Evans pointed out that many of these people used to rely on jobs in manufacturing, but a downturn in the manufacturing industry has left many residents without prospects.

"Even with such a high unemployment rate, Evans remains optimistic about Oswego County getting back on its feet. He said that a decrease in reliance on manufacturing jobs, and an increase in development in service jobs, could help slowly reduce unemployment rates. He pointed out that old manufacturing jobs paid well, and new jobs might not. The Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, local government and Oswego State are just a few of the larger employers that locals rely on.

"Spizman said the low cost of living in the Oswego area could be an incentive to keep the university’s graduates in town so they could be part of the local economy.

""This is a college town, but graduates won’t stay here if there is nothing to stay for," Spizman said.

"Spizman said students and young people should be creative and strive for self-employment. Students with an entrepreneurial spirit could go far if they start a small business to meet a local demand and employ a handful of people. Economic growth would start slowly, but even getting a handful of people back to work will be beneficial to the area.

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